Berlin Crisis, 1958-1962
Apr 8, 2021 | Briefing Book br>
Washington, D.C., April 8, 2021 – The United States and its European allies disagreed over the advisability of using nuclear weapons to signal resolve and deter war if a serious crisis with Moscow over West Berlin broke out, according to a review of declassified records posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.
Mar 17, 2021 | Briefing Book br>
Washington D.C., March 17, 2021 – During the 1950s and early 1960s, a remarkable number of crises arose during which U.S. leaders made threats, authorized nuclear weapons for use, and put strategic forces in a higher state of readiness, manifesting an almost reflexive reliance on displays of military force, according to a National Security Archive study posted today of declassified records, many published for the first time, on the use of alerts and the Defense Condition (DEFCON) system.
Overkill, Assured Destruction, and the Search for Nuclear Alternatives: U.S. Nuclear Forces During the Cold WarMay 22, 2020 | Briefing Book br>
Washington, D.C., May 22, 2020 – Seventy-five years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked the start of the atomic era, questions about the value, danger, and morality of nuclear weapons continue to present a huge challenge for politicians, military strategists, and ordinary citizens.
Nov 19, 2018 | Briefing Book br>
The National Security Archive is publishing a set of documents to commemorate the life and achievements of Llewellyn Thompson and highlight the publication of a biography of him written by his daughters, Jenny Thompson and Sherry Thompson (The Kremlinologist: Llewellyn E Thompson, America's Man in Cold War Moscow (Johns Hopkins Nuclear History and Contemporary Affairs, 2018). The posting contains never before published translations of Russian memcons with Khrushchev and Thompson’s cables from Moscow.
Aug 12, 2011 | Briefing Book br>
Washington, D.C., August 12, 2011 - Fifty years ago, when leaders of the former East Germany (German Democratic Republic) implemented their dramatic decision to seal off East Berlin from the western part of the city, senior Kennedy administration officials publicly condemned them. Nevertheless, those same officials, including Secretary of State Dean Rusk, secretly saw the Wall as potentially contributing to the stability of East Germany and thereby easing the festering crisis over West Berlin. Indeed, U.S.
Apr 7, 2010 | Briefing Book br>
Washington, D.C., April 7, 2010 - In a response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Pentagon claims that "Poodle Blanket" contingency plans from 1961 for a possible confrontation over West Berlin (no longer divided) with the Soviet Union (no longer a country) still need to be secret for fear of damage to current U.S. national security, according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).
Sep 25, 2001 | Briefing Book br>
In stark contrast to the close U.S.-Russian relationship of today, forty years ago serious tensions over Berlin and Germany and the danger of world war clouded Moscow-Washington relations. Fred Kaplan's article in the October 2001 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, "JFK's First Strike Plan," shows that key White House officials and the President himself briefly considered proposals for a limited nuclear first strike against Soviet military targets in the event that the Berlin crisis turned violent.